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Ohio's bench watches the third period of the Tri-States Collegiate Hockey League Championship on Feb. 12, 2023.

Hockey: There's still more hockey for Division II

COLUMBUS --The clock slowly wound down Sunday afternoon at Taft Coliseum. Ohio battled through nearly 34 minutes of overtime and all it needed was one more goal. The victory would complete Ohio’s last lap of the regular season and give it a Tri-States Collegiate Hockey League Championship.

However, Indiana beat Ohio to the net to win its second championship in a row. 

Emotions poured over the Bobcats as they watched the refs discuss the goal. The Hoosiers were already celebrating and the goal wasn’t official yet. Gloves flew through the air and cheers rang across the barn. Yet, the Bobcats sat silent. 

The officials confirmed the goal and the adrenaline from overtime immediately dissipated. The loss tore through Ohio. Many of its players stood motionless with stone expressions on their faces.

The Bobcats consoled each other as they watched the trophy be presented to the Hoosiers. They hugged each other and shared words. A few tears escaped the Bobcats’ eyes as the Hoosiers posed for their photo, but the Bobcats knew they had plenty to be happy about. 

Ohio had an incredible season. 

“We made it this far. Nobody thought we’d make it this far,” Donovan Tehan said. “The guys on the team did, but nobody around here did. Just to make it this far, it really means a lot to us.” 

Last season, Ohio finished 14-15 and fell in the first round of the TSCHL Tournament. It wasn’t the season Ohio wanted and it left more to be desired.

The Bobcats came back better than ever. They started the season with two six-game win streaks separated by a single loss. They defeated the likes of Michigan, Miami and Cincinnati, and even split their series with Indiana. 

Ohio qualified for the TSCHL tournament as the No. 1 team in the North Division with 26 points. In the first round, it smacked Louisville with a 6-1 loss. However, the second round wasn’t kind to Ohio. 

Kentucky made Ohio work for the win. The game sat tied in the third after Ohio came back from a first period deficit to secure the lead. However, with 15.6 seconds left in the game, Tehan scored the game-winning goal, his fourth of the season. 

Ohio was just happy to be in the championship — even if it had to play Indiana. 

Once the initial pain subsided, the Bobcats took the loss in stride. They’d come so far, and their season wasn’t completely over, just the TSCHL portion. 

Ranked No. 6 in the American Collegiate Hockey Association, Ohio was an automatic qualifier for the ACHA Southeast Regional.

“We’re going from one championship opportunity to another, and if we do well, we can go to nationals and make some noise there,” Tehan said. 

Ohio may have lost on Sunday, but that’s no reason to be sad. Ohio’s got more hockey to go. 


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